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Quick Takes: Sallie Mae Halts Consolidations, Threats Prompt Saint Xavier and Oakland to Shut, Aquinas Uninvites Gay Rights Philosopher, Yale Won't Start Abu Dhabi Campus, Baldwin-Wallace Goes Test-Optional, Public Barred From Diana Musical

April 14, 2008
  • Sallie Mae sent a letter to colleges Friday announcing that it would suspend participation in the federal loan consolidation program, with the goal of placing more of an emphasis on helping those who are starting college, to help fill any gap left by the numerous other lenders that have decided to stop originating new loans. Sallie Mae also announced that it would stop paying on behalf of students the Stafford loan origination fee. The company said that paying this fee was no longer justified at a time that some lenders have been leaving the program.
  • Saint Xavier University, in Chicago, shut down its campuses and ordered students to leave dormitories on Friday, following the second of two threats found in graffiti in a dormitory. A statement from Judith A. Dwyer, the president, said that the university would be closed "indefinitely" based on the advice of law enforcement officials and the nature of the second threat, which said: "Be prepared to die on 4/14." The university is offering assistance to students who can not easily return to their homes. A spokesman said that the university will reopen as soon as advised that it is safe to do so, and that officials hope that is in "a matter of days." On Sunday, Oakland University, in Michigan, announced that it would be closed today due to graffiti threats found in separate locations on campus. Oakland has also encouraged students who live on campus to go home.
  • Aquinas College, in Michigan, last week called off a speech that John Corvino, a philosopher at Wayne State University, had agreed to give. Corvino is a gay-rights advocate and college officials said that they needed a policy for how to deal with speakers whose views differed from Roman Catholic teachings. A spokesman for the college said that Aquinas supports academic freedom, but that as a private religious institution, it has no obligation to host controversial speakers. Corvino said he was disappointed to have the college revoke the invitation he had received from students, and Corvino noted that he had been willing to have the college add another speaker to the event to speak on behalf of Catholic teachings. Corvino said that some students are trying to arrange for him to appear off campus. "This was an opportunity for teaching," he said.
  • Yale University has suspended talks to open an arts institute in Abu Dhabi because the government wanted Yale to offer a degree program there. "Yale University has no degree-granting branch campuses overseas and has no current intentions to establish such institutions. The university has declined several other invitations during recent years to establish various degree programs outside of its home campus in New Haven, Connecticut," Yale's public affairs director said in a statement Friday.
  • Baldwin-Wallace College has announced that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. College officials said that tests were providing only "modest" bits of information about applicants, and that colleges that drop the requirements attract a more diverse range of qualified applicants. Baldwin-Wallace adopted its new policy for five years and will require new students to submit scores for use in research on the shift.
  • The University of Brighton, in Britain, is barring the public from a student's satirical work, "Diana, the Musical," which shows the late princess living in Mexico with other dead celebrities, the BBC reported. A statement from the university said: "We fully support freedom of expression but we also recognize sensitivities regarding possible offense."
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